Four years earlier, development work began on the new BMW, the successful New Class - BMW 1500, 1600, 1800 and 2000 - will replace. The model name should sound technical and follow a clear nomenclature: The leading '5' designates the series, the other digits the displacement. And there is also a reference to the company's history. The new name is reminiscent of the first large post-war sedans BMW 501 and 502 - the baroque angels.
Garmisch study - first outlook on the first BMW 5 Series
S chon In 1970, the Munich-based company presented the Garmisch study designed by the Bertone Design Center at the Geneva Motor Show, which already reveals the basic shapes of the production vehicle. Although the Garmisch study is a two-door coupé, it is already clear that there will only be a four-door sedan. The technology of the BMW 2200 TI is hidden under the sheet metal of the study. The interior with its futuristic dashboard does not move into the series in this form - fortunately, one has to say, because the dashboard layout of the series 5 series sets new standards in terms of ergonomics.
What is particularly noticeable about the Garmisch concept is that it detaches itself from the round headlights typical of BMW and banishes them behind glass - this is also not adopted for the series. Only the fourth generation (E39, from 1995) wears its double headlights behind a glass cover.
The front of the concept coupé, which stretches forward, becomes a style-defining element in the following BMW models. The sporty, aggressive look due to the clear wedge shape and the forwardly drawn bonnet, along with the typical BMW kidney grille, was to determine the design of Munich cars well into the 1980s.
Behavioral sporty: The first 5 Series from BMW - but from 1973 the in-line sixs
In the first 5 Series of the E12 series, only four-cylinder models are initially available M10 is used. The carburettor version BMW 520 has 115 hp, the BMW 520i, which is supplied with a Kugelfischer injection system, has 130 hp. Many had expected more. Those hungry for performance will find out a year later on the IAA 1973 with thenow legendary six-cylinder models. From now on, the engine range for the E12-5 series will only be expanded upwards with one exception.
The 525 (1983 to 1981) with 145 hp marks the entry point, the 2.8-liter models with 165 hp (528, 1975 to 1977) and 177 HP (528i, 1977 to 1979) and from 1979 the M 535i with 218 HP have few opponents to fear on the German autobahn. If, on the other hand, a top speed of 160 km /h is enough, you can be happy with the 518 from 1974 - as a reaction to the oil crisis. Its four-cylinder engine develops 90 hp and rounds off the lower end of the BMW 5-series range.
5-series production: only in Munich then in the new Dingolfing plant
At the start of production, the E12-5 will only be built in Munich. When the new plant in Dingolfing was completed in 1973, production moved there; In 1975 it was completely discontinued in Munich.
Dingolfing can look back on a long automotive tradition. Here, in the hometown of Hans Glas, the glass automobiles were built in the 1950s, including the successful Goggomobil. Eicher produces its tractors, agricultural machinery and trucks here, and later Magirus-Deutz trucks are built. But the settlement of the BMW plant makes Dingolfing one of the richest communities in Germany. The Dingolfing plant is the largest in the BMW Group. Around 20,000 employees manufacture the 5, 6 and 7 series here.